Level 2: Lichen Lab is a symbiotic research partnership studying the connection between art galleries and enactive cognition. Lichens are integrated, separate organisms that often grow in marginal habitats too harsh for other organisms and require three factors “recognition, acceptance and fitness of the association” (Vidyasagar, 2016). Similarly, the members of Level 2: Lichen Lab recognize the benefits of cooperation and exchange and are more robust researchers by association. Based at the University of Lethbridge, Canada, the lab consists of Josephine Mills (Director/Curator, U of Lethbridge Art Gallery and Professor of Museum Studies), Louise Barrett (Canada Research Chair in Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour and Professor of Psychology), Christine Clark (Designer and Assistant Professor of New Media), and doctoral students Miranda Lucas, Leila Armstrong, and Maria Madacky. We partner with artists, students, academics, and activists and are currently producing You Are Here with the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, a series of exhibitions, workshops, performances, and presentations designed to invite a diversity of people in Southern Alberta to find new ways to think about the future of their environment.

Vidyasagar, Aparna. “What Are Lichens?” Live Science, June 8, 2016. Accessed October 23, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/55008-lichens.html
Noë, Alva. Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature. New York: Hill & Wang, 2015.

Origin Story:

Level 2: Lichen Lab grew out of a previous collaboration, Complex Social Change: teaching, performing, exhibiting, designing, mapping (2013-2014), which brought together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds with a common interest— a fascination with the beautiful, challenging, confusing evolution of our society. The project included an exhibition series, panel presentations, guest speakers, performances, a Liberal Education course, a website (complexsocialchange.ca), social media, videos, and a major publication.

Josie Mills

Josephine Mills is the Director/Curator of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and a Professor in the Department of Art. She has worked as a curator and public programmer in art galleries and artist-run centres in Saskatoon and Vancouver. Mills has a PhD in Communication Studies from Concordia University

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Louise Barrett

Louise Barret is an ecologist and anthropologist by training, and has spent most of the last twenty-odd years working on monkeys in Uganda and South Africa, asking questions about how social life shapes brain evolution, life history strategies, reproductive success and what this can (and can’t) tell us about

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Miranda Lucas

Miranda Lucas (PhD Student) biography Miranda Lucas is currently working on PhD at the University of Lethbridge, under the supervision of Drs. Barrett and Mills, with a concentration in human behaviour and evolution. For her master’s, she traveled to South...

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Maria Madacky

Born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, Maria Z. Madacky began her undergraduate years as a medical student, but soon switched her interests to art and philosophy and graduated from the University of Novi Sad with a BA/Ed in Language Arts. At present she is a practicing artist with an MFA in Drawing and Intermedia

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Christine Clark

Christine Clark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of New media where she teaches and practices in web design and development. She received her MFA in New Media from the UofL in 2015, with her thesis focusing on the design of climate data visualizations and design/science collaboration.

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Leila Armstrong

Leila Armstrong has an M.A. in Media Studies from Concordia University. She works both independently and in collaboration with other artists such as Darcy Logan, Maria Madacky, and Rick Gillis in M.E.D.I.U.M. (Metaphysical Explorations, Divinations, and Investigations Utilizing Magic).

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